The Unheard's Intriguing Premise Falls Prey to Too Many Horror Clichés

After undergoing a procedure aimed at restoring her hearing after 12 years of silence, college student Chloe (Chucky’s Lachlan Watson) heads to her family’s Cape Cod cottage to recuperate. It’s lonely—but as The Unheard explores, she finds she’s not alone, seemingly in both natural and supernatural ways.

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Hackers Render Tesla Car Unsafe to Drive, Win Themselves a Model 3

A group of security researchers have, once again, proven that Tesla vehicles’ high-tech software and systems are easily exploited. At Zero Day Initiative’s Pwn2Own 2023 hacking competition this week, cybersecurity firm Synacktiv successfully cracked both Tesla’s infotainment and Gateway networks in a Model 3 car, as…

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Apple's AirPods Pro drop back to $200, plus the rest of the week's best tech deals

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another roundup of notable discounts on good tech. Among the highlights, Apple’s AirPods Pro are back down to $200, tying the best price we’ve seen for the iPhone-friendly noise-cancelling earphones. Amazon has dropped the Kindle Paperwhite down to $100, which is $5 above that e-reader’s all-time low, while Samsung is running another sale on various storage devices. We’re also seeing discounts on Anker USB-C chargers, Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop and Apple’s AirTags, among others. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro are once again down to $200, which is a deal we’ve seen a few times before but still matches the lowest price we’ve tracked. We gave these noise-canceling earphones a review score of 88 last year and they’re currently the “best for iOS” pick in our guide to the best wireless earbuds. While their battery life and call quality could be better, the AirPods Pro still deliver a good, mostly neutral sound profile, impressive noise cancellation and a host of features that make them easy to use with other Apple devices.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is back down to $100, which is $5 more than the e-reader’s all-time low but still $40 off its typical going rate. The Paperwhite itself remains a strong value, with a sharp and relatively spacious 6.8-inch e-ink display, a light and waterproof design with a USB-C port, a smooth front lighting system that keeps the screen easy on the eyes and access to Amazon’s massive e-book library. 

We gave the “Signature Edition” of the Paperwhite a review score of 97 in late 2021. That model includes more storage space (32GB instead of 8GB), Qi wireless charging support and a slightly improved front light, but it’s otherwise identical to the Paperwhite, and its upgrades probably aren’t worth the extra cost for most.

It might be worth paying a little bit extra for the Kindle Paperwhite Kids, however, which is currently on sale for $110. That variant is marketed towards children, but it comes with the same hardware, plus a case and a longer two-year warranty. If you are buying for a kid, it also includes a year of Amazon’s Kids+ content service. This model is about $45 off its typical street price as of this writing.

Anker 715 USB-C Charger

While not an all-time low, this deal brings Anker’s highly compact 715 Charger about $10 below its usual street price. This is a travel-friendly USB-C charger capable of delivering 65W of power, which is enough to charge many phones, tablets and even smaller laptops at full speed. Just note that it only has one port; if you often need to charge multiple devices at once, consider Anker’s 736 Charger, a three-port, 100W charger that’s currently down to a new low of $52.49. 

Samsung Evo Select

A range of Samsung storage gear is on sale this week. For one, Samsung’s Evo Select is a U3- and V30-rated microSD card that’s plenty quick for most casual needs, be it handling 4K video or expanding a Nintendo Switch’s storage. It’s backed by a 10-year limited warranty as well. The 128GB and 512GB models are down to $12.49 and $40, respectively, both of which represent all-time lows.  

Samsung 980 Pro SSD

Next up, the 980 Pro is a speedy PCIe 4.0 SSD that’s suitable for a modern gaming PC or expanding the storage of a PlayStation 5. Its 1TB model is on sale for $80, which is an all-time low. If you need a higher capacity, the 2TB model is a couple dollars above its lowest price at $160. 

If you’re buying for a PS5 specifically, note that you’ll have to pair the drive with a heatsink. For those willing to pay a bit extra for a simpler setup, Samsung sells a version of the 980 Pro with an integrated heatsink, the 1TB model of which is currently down to $100. Either way, it’s worth making sure the drive’s firmware is up-to-date, as some users previously reported issues with certain Samsung drives that have since been fixed.

Although the 980 Pro is technically an older model in Samsung’s lineup, not everyone needs the speed increase of a PCIe 4.0 drive for everyday PC use. For those people, SK Hynix’s Gold P31 is a well-reviewed, power-efficient option among PCIe 3.0 drives, and its 1TB model is about $35 off its usual going rate at $72. For those upgrading an older PC from a slow HDD, meanwhile, Crucial’s MX500 is a 2.5-inch SATA drive we recommend; that one’s 4TB model is currently down to an all-time low of $215.

Samsung T7 Shield

Finally, Samsung’s T7 Shield is a more ruggedized version of the top portable drive pick in our guide to the best SSDs. It’s not the absolute fastest portable drive you can buy, with read/write speeds rated up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s, but it should be fast enough for most needs, and its rubberized, IP65-rated exterior should help it survive frequent travel. Both the 1TB and 2TB models are down to all-time lows at $80 and $140, respectively.

WD My Passport Portable SSD

If you don’t specifically need a ruggedized portable SSD, WD’s My Passport drive will get you slightly faster read and write speeds, plus a longer five-year warranty. (The T7 Shield comes with a three-year warranty.) This drive’s 1TB and 2TB variants are both down to all-time lows, at $85 and $138, respectively. If those happen to run out of stock, SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD is a very similar performer; it’s down to a low of $90 for a 1TB model and $140 for a 2TB model.

Apple iPad

Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad is back down to $250 at Target, which matches the tablet’s all-time low and represents a roughly $25 discount from its usual street price. This is the budget pick in our guide to the best iPads, and we gave it a review score of 86 back in 2021. Its thick bezels, non-laminated display and lack of a USB-C port give a much more dated look than other iPads, but for casual use, it’s still quick and comfortable enough. As a bonus, it’s also the last iPad to have a headphone jack. 

If you want a more modern design, the 10.9-inch iPad is also back to an all-time low of $400. That one still lacks a laminated display and support for Apple’s best keyboard and Pencil stylus, but it feels much more like an iPad Air, and its landscape-oriented webcam is far more convenient for video calls. We gave this model a review score of 85 last October.

Amazon Echo Show 8

Amazon’s Echo Show 8 is on sale for $75, which is $5 more than the all-time low we saw during the holiday season but still about $20 less than the 8-inch smart display’s usual street price. We gave the Echo Show 8 a review score of 87 when in launched in 2021, and we currently recommend it as the best smart display for Alexa users in our guide to the best smart home gadgets. If you have a bunch of smart home devices that make use of Amazon’s voice assistant, this is still the best blend of size, price and performance in the Echo Show lineup. If you aren’t beholden to Alexa, though, note that Google’s Nest Hub will naturally play better with Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar and YouTube.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is a stripped-down but less expensive variant of the Apple Watch Series 8, the top pick in our guide to the best smartwatches. We gave the latest model a review score of 89 last September, calling it “the best smartwatch $250 can buy,” but right now the 40mm variant is on sale for $220, which is within a dollar of the device’s all-time low. 

Compared to the Series 8, the SE has a slightly smaller display that isn’t always-on, and it lacks premium features like an ECG monitor, skin temperature sensor and blood oxygen sensor. It runs on the same processor, however, and it can still do all the core functions expected of an Apple Watch, including heart-rate monitoring, notifications and fall detection. If you’re buying a smartwatch for the first time, or if you’re upgrading from an older Apple Watch and want to save some cash, the SE is a superb value. Just remember that this is an iPhone-only affair.

Apple Mac Mini M2

A configuration of Apple’s recently refreshed Mac Mini with an M2 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD is on sale for $700, which is $100 off Apple’s list price and an all-time low. We gave the variant with a beefier M2 Pro chip a review score of 86 in January; this model won’t be as powerful as that, but it’s still a good buy for those who only need a macOS desktop for everyday web browsing and lighter work. The Mac Mini itself is still compact and quiet, while this model gets you two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet jack and a headphone jack. As always, you can’t upgrade the Mac Mini’s internals after you buy it, so it’s likely worth buying a model with more RAM, storage or that M2 Pro chip if you plan on doing development work or heavy media editing and must have this smaller form factor.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 is the top pick in our guide to the best gaming laptops, and a configuration with a Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, Radeon RX 6700S GPU, 14-inch 120Hz display, 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM and is currently down to $1,100 at Best Buy. That matches the lowest price we’ve seen. 

This 2022 iteration of the G14 will be on the way out in the coming months, but at this price, last year’s model is still a good value for playing modern games in a QHD resolution at a solid frame rate. Like prior G14s, this is a gaming laptop that stands out for not sacrificing the “laptop” part of the equation: Its keyboard and trackpad are comfortable, it has ample ports, its battery can last around 10 hours when you aren’t gaming, and at 3.6 pounds, it won’t feel like a total anchor in a backpack. We gave the notebook a review score of 85 last year.

Google Pixel 7

Google’s Pixel 7 remains one of the better values on the Android phone market, and right now an unlocked 128GB model is on sale for $449, which is the lowest price we’ve seen. We gave this 6.3-inch handset a review score of 90 last October. While there are faster flagships out there, the Pixel 7 still offers a top-tier camera, pleasing build quality, a crisp OLED display and a clean version of Android that’s still due two more years of OS updates and four more years of security updates. 

Google is expected to launch a Pixel 7a phone in the next couple of months that may be very similar to this, but at this price, the Pixel 7 remains a strong value. The excellent Pixel 7 Pro, which has a larger screen and even better camera system, is also on sale for $749, though that’s a price we’ve seen several times in recent months.

If you’re looking for a Google smartwatch, meanwhile, the company’s Pixel Watch is down to $299, a $40 discount that matches the lowest price we’ve tracked. That one has a particularly stylish design and useful health tracking features, but be warned that its battery life is lacking compared to other top wearables.

Apple AirTag (4-pack)

A four-pack of Apple’s AirTag trackers is on sale for $90, which isn’t an all-time low but still comes out to a $10 discount and marks the best price we’ve seen since the holidays. The AirTag is the “best for iPhones” pick in our guide to the best Bluetooth trackers, as it leverages Apple’s extensive Find My crowd-sourcing network and ultra-wideband wireless tech to locate lost items accurately. 

Unlike similar devices from Tile or Chipolo, an AirTag annoyingly lacks a built-in adhesive or key ring hole, but there are various accessories you can buy to address that gap. It’s also worth noting that bad actors have used AirTags to track people without their content, though Apple has made at least some strides toward addressing those concerns. If you use the device for its intended purpose, it should be effective. 

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Reese Witherspoon Announces Divorce From Husband Jim Toth

News of the split comes days before the couple’s 12th wedding anniversary.

Labor Board Confirms You Can Talk Trash About Your Former Boss

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has officially stated that employers cannot offer non-disparagement agreements in severance packages and that any previous non-disparagement agreements are void. In other words, the NLRB has made it official that after you move on from your place of…

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Could Be Coming to a City Near You, Thanks to Climate Change

If you were already stressed about increased air pollution and more frequent heat waves, well, you can add another disturbing health impact of climate change to your list: the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, which is thriving in warming U.S. waters.

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Starlink Rival OneWeb Poised for Global Coverage After Weekend Launch

British satellite company OneWeb is gearing up for the launch of its final batch of internet satellites, completing a constellation in low Earth orbit despite some hiccups along the way.

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Elon Reportedly Pulled Out of OpenAI Because They Wouldn’t Let Him Be the Big Boss

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Almost Everyone on Star Trek: Picard *Really* Wants a Spinoff to Happen

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Blue Origin pins last summer's NS-23 rocket failure on a faulty engine nozzle

Blue Origin now has an explanation for the booster failure that cut a New Shepard flight short last September. Jeff Bezos’ company has determined that a “thermo-structural failure” in the NS-23 rocket’s engine nozzle was to blame. Operational temperatures for the nozzle climbed higher than expected following cooling system design changes, creating fatigue that misaligned the thrust and activated the crew capsule’s escape system.

Engineers are already taking “corrective actions” that include redesigning the combustion chamber and operating conditions. Blue Origin has also tweaked the nozzle design to improve its structural integrity. The capsule wasn’t damaged and will fly again, Blue Origin says.

The company says it hopes to resume flights “soon,” but hasn’t provided an exact date. It intends to restart operations by re-flying the research payload from the aborted mission. The Federal Aviation Administration has to accept the incident findings before Blue Origin can move forward.

There’s plenty of pressure on Blue Origin to address the issues. The company recently obtained a NASA contract to fly a science mission to Mars using its yet-to-launch New Glenn rocket, and has been pushing for a lunar lander agreement. The sooner Blue Origin can prove that its rocketry is trustworthy, the sooner it can secure customers that include governments and space tourists.

Rivals are facing problems of their own. Relativity Space’s first 3D-printed rocket failed to reach orbit earlier this month. SpaceX, meanwhile, has yet to successfully fire all of Starship’s engines at the same time. That’s not including past problems like Rocket Lab’s setbacks. Private spaceflight remains difficult, and Blue Origin is just the latest to illustrate that fact.

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